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The Gender-Confused NIV Bible

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The Non-Neutrality of the New ‘Gender-Neutral’ NIV

by Rev. Paul A. Hughes, M.Div

The following comments originated in a theological discussion group.

Just because a translation using gender inclusive language does not mean it is liberal.

~NIV Defender

Yes, gender-inclusiveness is Liberal, inherently so, based on the desire to meddle in the literal text as well as societal perceptions and tweak them to one’s preference.  It demonstrates a desire to influence society, not reflect the ideas of the text and its authors.  Moreover, the very fact that one or more editors purports not to perceive this dynamic demonstrates the extent of sheer bias, intentional or not.

The proof is in the pudding.  The desire to re-contextualize gender language in a way that is true to neither the original (Greek or Hebrew) nor English-speaking culture (for the most part, to the extent it is not yet politically correct) is unnecessary, and therefore disingenuous.  It speaks of an agenda, i.e., meddling.

And we all know that the worst kind of bias is that which is unconscious, because it is then unquestioned.

The various OT and NT cultures were all patriarchal to varying degrees.  They used the male pronoun generically for a reason.  Theologically, as well, woman is seen as an extension or counterpart of the male.  Hence, Heb. iSH and iSHaH (male-female) — which by the way is a close linguistic parallel to English Man and Wo-man.  These differences are part of the fabric of the culture, ideology, history, and theology of Scripture, and ought not be swept under the carpet lest they offend someone, or someone not feel included.  Tell the people the whole truth, explain the facts, and let them sort it out for themselves.  Trust them with the whole truth, let them decide.

But then, I also think that all Bible teachers and wannabes have the responsibility before God to study in the original languages, and not be reliant on things like English versions and armchair interpreters.

It has nothing to do with offense or inclusiveness, that is a straw man.

~NIV Defender

Did you realize that you just used “straw man” as a generic male reference?  Should you not say, “straw person”?

It is only a “straw man argument” if no one in fact holds the position that is criticized.  If the position is real, it is not a “straw man” but an actual person, thing, idea, or action.  But what we are talking about here is a position which might not be evident at the front end, but is evident at the back end, i.e., the results.  Every effect has a cause, every action a decision behind it, conscious or not, and every decision an ideology or agenda.  If there were no agenda, there would be no decision to edit the NIV for gender inclusiveness.

The Greeks used male pronouns generically, because that reflected their worldview, and was not an accident of language.  To cover up that circumstance is to recast its idiom, shade the interpretation, and potentially change its intent.  It is as simple as that.

Personally, I like to get the Word of God “straight up,” “with the bark on” (pardon the mixed metaphors).  I do not like to get it second-hand, watered-down, made easy and palatable, hence I took all the language courses I could [in college and seminary] while others were slacking.  (The Lord has not often let me take the “easy road” on anything.)  Am I the only one who revels in the faithfulness of scribes and the fruit of the Reformation which is God’s Word in my own hands and the right to read it for myself?  Or are we just going to keep making Christianity ever more “sissified”?

Copyright © 2013 Paul A. Hughes

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Written by biblequestion

October 26, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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